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Graceling: 1 Paperback – 3 Sep 2009

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Graceling: 1 + Fire: 2 (Graceling) + Bitterblue
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575085304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575085305
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kristin Cashore is an exceptional new voice in the fantasy genre whose characterisation, beautifully realised world and compelling narratives set her apart. If you love to be swept up and away by a novel then these are must-read books, from a master storyteller.

Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a master's from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer.

She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Graceling, her first book, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, won the prestigious Mythopoeic Award, and is already a New York Times bestseller. Fire is her second novel, and a third is on the way.

Product Description


Cashore's prose is smooth and unobtrusive. But for all its lightness of tone, Graceling is not a simple novel. indeed it deals with some very difficult subject matter. Its inevitable love story is sweetly unconventional and unabashedly feminist. Katsa herself is a rich character. The growth of her trust and self-esteem is the understated heart of the novel. This is always Katsa's story and enjoyable fast paced it is too. An immensely fun, good-hearted read. (SFX)

'Cashore creates believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers . . . An impressive first novel. (BOOKLIST)

Graceling really does have something to offer everyone. An adventurous and enjoyable read. (DEATHRAY)

It's a great debut novel that will suit those who like their Fantasy unabashedly romantic. (SFFWORLD.COM)

The story flows at a decent pace with a story that gradually builds in intensity and a mystery that unravels at just the right speed to keep things interesting. Cashore knows what makes a good spectacle and, even though you know that Katsa absolutely has to win through, writes set piece scenes that buzz with excitement and action. (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

A major strength of the writing is the imagery presented throughout the novel. The book is filled with very vivid descriptions of almost everything from castles, landscapes, courts, and the journeys that the characters go on. Kristin Cashore's 'Graceling' is a great start by a developing writer and I definitely look forward to seeing this writer grow with future novels as she shows tremendous potential. (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)

Book Description

A superb, critically acclaimed and already best-selling debut fantasy novel from a stunning new author.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE on 6 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover
In Kristin Cashore's début, a Graceling is a person with a preternatural power of sorts. Some Graces allow great skill at fighting, or mind-reading, or anything else that might be useful in a fantasy novel.

Katsa has a very special Grace, one that's very useful, but not one that she wants: the Grace of Killing. She's the niece King Randa of the Middluns, and was noticed from a very early age; the king now uses her to enforce his rule across the land: she is his assassin, his best soldier, and is known throughout the kingdom for her ferocity and blood-lust.

Those few who see beyond her differently coloured eyes, and her forced shows of violence, know she is not like that. She hates what she has to do, and with a few highly-placed friends -- the Prince, for one -- has established a secret Council that spans many lands, dedicated to the protection of the people.

One kingdom needs no help, though: that of King Leck, the only peace-loving king in the land. Except, the father of Leck's wife has gone missing, presumed kidnapped -- he's also the father of the King of Lienid, and if something isn't done soon, there could be war... Throw into the mix a man with a Grace that makes him unstoppable or killable, and you have a situation...

And a good début.

The editor who acquired it is in fact the same editor who acquired Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss for Gollancz, both excellent authors, though different in tone from Cashore. In line with the United States marketing of this book as a Young Adult, while there is violence in Graceling it's not too gritty and there's no swearing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kayleigh Raine on 2 May 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh man, this book - it broke my heart and not in the good way.

The book started out well enough. It's very well written, the pacing is good, character development was good, the world building was good, the plot was good. It was all good. This should have been a solid four star read. In the end I had to talk myself from two stars up to three.

Graceling follows a pretty typical high fantasy recipe: Main character has extraordinary powers and is subject to the whims of tyrant-king. Meanwhile, evil is brewing elsewhere. Character meets love interest - see love story grow. Character takes hold of their own destiny and sets out to save the world. There's nothing really new here.

Still, at first, the book kept me reading and was well on its way to a four-star rating. Then I hit the 60% mark and suddenly found myself in danger of dying from boredom. It picks up again for the last 5-6% or so, but there's something fundamentally wrong when the most boring part of a book is the part which is supposed to be the most exciting. I literally had to force myself to read the last 40% and even then I skim-read a lot of the stuff with Katsa and Bitterblue in the mountains because I knew if I didn't, this would end up in the DNF pile.

Okay, now I'm going to address the feminist agenda in this book. I love books with a feminist theme. I love a good old 'stong female' main character as much as the next feminist. I did not like Katsa. In fact, I've come very close to hating her. She's not the worst pseudo-feminist character I hated, nor does she hold the number one spot on my list (that honor is reserved for Celaena Sardothien) but I'd probably say she takes number two.

Her out-right refusal to marry?
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bookaphile on 27 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Kristin Cashore's debut novel is, quite simply, astounding. It is a far cry from the weak, passive `heroines' that have recently been giving YA literature a bad name; the characters of Graceling spring to life, inviting--no, demanding--that the reader join their world, a place filled with vibrancy and life. From the first page to the last, Cashore's strong writing allows the reader to not only see her fantastical world through her imagination, but through their own: the strongly-defined world of the novel becomes almost as dear and familiar to the reader as something they themselves might have created.

Katsa, the protagonist of Graceling, is not merely a strong role-model for young-adult readers, but for any reader. She is not meek and easily controlled--though the theme of control does have a huge standing within the novel--but rather a young woman who is able to take her own destiny into her hands and mould it, shape it into something better for herself. Her reactions to the situations she finds herself in are believable and provoke empathy in the reader, something which I have been sorely unable to gather for much of the characters in the YA literature currently on the market. She is not, as so many characters seem to currently be, defined solely by her relationships; she loves with reason, and yet, simultaneously, without, for there can truly be no logic in love.

Graceling is largely character-driven, but that does not suggest that there is no plot, or that the plot to be found is below average. Indeed, I found myself unable to put this book down; I as much devoured this novel as simply read it.
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